County Board votes to switch health insurance provider

MARQUETTE — The future of healthcare for employees of Marquette County is changing come 2017. By a vote Tuesday night of 5-2, the board approved a switch to a new healthcare insurance provider.

Starting next year, Western Michigan Health Insurance Pool will be the new healthcare insurance provider for county employees.
The county had worked with Vince Rose at Forty-Four North, an insurance company headquartered in downstate Cadillac for over 15 years.

The board ultimately chose to go with the pool plan, which locks them into a three-year contract. Before the decision was made, things got heated between union representative John Thomas and Commissioner Gerry Corkin.

“And Chairman I guess it confuses me a little bit that you sit here and chastise Mr. Rose for coming in with late numbers, but all that was him continuing to work to get you a better number,” said Thomas of AFSCME. “You came in here with a pre-conceived idea that you’re going to the pool. You’re the one that stated that I don’t care if it’s close…”

“Excuse me, I need order,” said Steve Pence, civil counsel for Marquette County.

Commissioners Bill Nordeen and Johnny DePetro voted against switching insurance companies. Western Michigan Health Insurance Pool was formed in 2005.

According to their website, the company provides insurance to 20,000 people in 70 different organizations.

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